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Councillor quits Sinn Féin over 'negative rumours from small elements'

Jonathan Dowdall had initially stepped down due to health reasons, but now says he will stay in his council seat.

Image: Jonathan Dowdall

COUNCILLOR JONATHAN DOWDALL has claimed he resigned from Sinn Féin after a “small element” in the party in north inner city Dublin spread negative rumours about him.

It’s emerged that Dowdall has not officially resigned from Dublin City Council but has instead quit Sinn Féin. The party had said on Tuesday he was stepping down from “elected politics” for health reasons.

Last night, Dowdall said that he has not officially notified anyone in Dublin City Council that he was going to resign from his seat. He said he intends on leaving Sinn Féin, even though he supports the party and its policies.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the 34-year-old father-of-four said that alongside health concerns, a “small element” of the party in the inner city has been “causing nothing but havoc spreading rumours” which led to a stressful situation that caused him to say he was resigning.

“I think the people in the area need to know the truth,” said Dowdall, adding that he took the decision to speak out due to comments online speculating about why he decided to resign.

He pointed out that he grew up in the inner city of Dublin and was a member of Sinn Féin when he decided to run “solely for reasons to better the area”. The married father-of-four said he runs his own business, employs locals and has also sponsored football teams in the area.

“I have a health issue that came on through the end of the elections,” he said.

That isn’t the main reason I was standing down. Sinn Féin itself is an absolutely super party and I strongly believe in Sinn Féin’s politics. The councillors in Sinn Féin I believe are the best councillors out there. [Deputy Leader] Mary Lou [McDonald] I have the height of respect for.

‘Not wanted’

Of the negative comments, Dowdall said that he had heard comments from people saying they heard that Sinn Féin didn’t want him and that they wanted another candidate.

He also said family members and some members of other political parties had told him they had heard negative things about him from others in social situations.

He thought that the rumours would end after the elections, but said that they didn’t.

He said that between these stories he was hearing, and the “trying to get back and forth to get to hospitals and rear a young family and run a company”, he thought “what is the point?”.

He said that after news of his resignation broke, people were unhappy “because I did do an awful lot in a short period of time”. He described what happened as “stressful” and said he told Sinn Féin what had happened.

Contacted for comment yesterday, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said the party was not aware of any negative rumours or comments about Dowdall.

“I still will be involved in the community,” said Dowdall, adding: “I don’t believe in backstabbing people.”

Dowdall said he is “really disappointed for the area” that he has stepped down, but that “at the end of the day my family is first” and he had been “constantly stressed out” over the situation.

When news broke that Dowdall was stepping down, Mary Lou McDonald expressed her regret. She described him as “a hard worker who will be missed in his elected role by local constituents”.

At last May’s local elections, Sinn Féin made massive gains on Dublin City Council, making it the party with the biggest representation.

Read: Sinn Féin councillor resigns for health reasons>

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